Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity:
Southwest Consortium of Health-Oriented Education Leaders and Research Scholars

BUILDing SCHOLARS is a center of excellence established at The University of Texas at El Paso with support from the National Institutes of Health - Common Fund.

Our goal is to implement a suite of programs and activities that will positively transform the training of the next generation of biomedical researchers from U.S. Southwest groups through a multi-institution consortium in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, as well as three extra-regional sites.


As part of the three-pronged Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH-Funded Workforce Consortium, we work closely with the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), centralized at Boston College, to enhance the training and career development of our students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty. We also work closely with the Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to evaluate the efficacy of the training and mentoring approaches.

The Centers programs and activities focus on three key areas:

Student development
Faculty development
Institutional development

It provides a large number of student scholarships per year
During the first year of implementation (academic year 2015–2016), the Center will support 60 students with full or partial scholarships, covering up to 15 credit hours of tuition, as well as a stipend. Those receiving scholarships as freshmen may qualify for four years of support based on adherence to the Center’s requirements.

Several scholarships are reserved for students with sophomore or junior status at the start of the program. The latter may qualify to receive support for two and three years, respectively, based on adherence to the Center’s requirements.

Fifteen scholarships per year are reserved for students transferring from El Paso Community College or Transmountain Early College High School.

There will be an annual increase in the number of scholarships awarded until a steady-state is achieved in 2018–2019.

Click here for more information regarding scholarship criteria and eligibility.


Academic Year No. of Scholarships
2015–2016 60
2016–2017 100
2017–2018 115
2018–2019 135


It’s for all students—not only those on scholarships
Any student interested in becoming researchers in the biomedical, social, behavior or health sciences or biomedical engineering fields can benefit from the Center. They are encouraged to enroll in the same research foundation and research-driven courses, participate in the mentor training activities and attend presentations/seminars.

It’s innovative
We use an asset bundling approach, such as educational endowments; continuous research experiences; academic enrichment; science socialization; network development; family expectations and materials resources, to help overcome educational and research training barriers.

Our activities have a transdisciplinary emphasis through research nodes, which involve sociology, psychology, biomedical, mechanical, and electrical/computer engineering, nursing and health sciences, as well as the traditional sciences: chemistry, biochemistry, biology, mathematics and physics. Students majoring in any of those disciplines are invited to apply for the scholarship and participate in the student programs.

A major focus is on early interventions, which take place during the freshman and sophomore years, through the research foundations and research-driven courses.

The Center also integrates technology and high-impact educational practices such as the use of Student-Centered Active Learning Environments for Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) to:
1) enhance student training through face-to-face, virtual and blended approaches and 2) promote student-student, faculty-student and faculty-faculty connectivity to faculty and students from pipeline and research partner institutions.

We emphasize a scaffolded training approach through a research-driven curriculum and strong mentoring program, which integrate students into a community of practice that will develop and expand their professional network.


Years 1–2

Semester 1 Research Foundations Course

Semesters 2–3 Research-Driven Course

1st Local Mentored REU

Writing Intensive Assignments

Local Conference

Years 2–3

Peer Research Leader

Mentored External REUs


Professional Development Workshops

External Conference

Writing Intensive Assignments

Years 3–4

Research Teaching Integration Experience


Professional Development Workshops

Capstone Project

External Conference

Writing Intensive Assignments


The Center supports the development of participating faculty and postdoctoral personnel through curriculum development, mini-sabbaticals, and mentor training programs.

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